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Darren Appleton

Instruction Articles:
Kick Into High Gear
March 2018

Kicking drills help you assess a table and get creative.

Kicking has become such a huge part of the game. Whether it is kicking your way out of a safety or kicking offensively, it really pays to have decent knowledge of the angles, as well as a little creativity.

Here is a nice little kicking drill that is good for all levels. For players who have a table at home, or play on the same table all the time in the poolroom, the success ratio should be pretty high. Where this drill really comes in handy, though, is when you are getting ready to play on a new table or table youíre unfamiliar with. Itís a great way to see how the table reacts compared to a table you are familiar with.

Start by setting balls 1-6 on the edge of the six pockets as shown in Diagram One, and place the cue ball on the spot. You must use a minimum of two rails on each shot. The challenge is to make the 1. From the resulting cue ball position, search for a path to the 2 ball, and so on.

In this particular drill, I go three rails for the 1 ball, using a tip and a half of left English and high follow. The best path from the 1 to the 2 is a two-rail shot using high follow and a tip of right English.

Shot 3 (Diagram Two) is a three-rail shot using high follow and a tip and a half of left English. For the 4 ball, go two rails using a little right English and follow.

Diagram Three shows the path starting with the cue ball position left after pocketing the 4 ball. To get to the 5, go three rails, using a tip and a half of right English and follow. Finally, from there to the 6 ball, three rails again with a little left English and follow.

course, this is simply how I approached this drill in this particular instance. Each shot may vary based on where the cue ball ended up after the preceding shot, and on the angles of the particular table.

Itís good to experiment with this drill. Get a feel for your stroke. You will develop a good understanding of what you can do when the situation calls for a kick shot, and it will teach you how to create angles that you previously didnít think were possible. With practice, what seems like a system will quickly become muscle memory. You will almost immediately know what angles offer the best path.